Encyclopedia of Cancer

Living Edition
| Editors: Manfred Schwab


  • Dirk Taeger
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27841-9_4927-3



Radon (Rn) is a chemically inert gas with atomic number 86 in the periodic table. The most stable isotope is radon-222 from the decay series of uranium-238. The half-life of radon-222 is 3.8 days. The short-lived daughter products of the noble gas radon are itself radioactive isotopes of the elements polonium, lead, bismuth, and thallium. Rn is an alpha-particle emitter. The decay products generate alpha particles, beta particles, and gamma-rays.



Radon is ubiquitous but of relative low abundance, because of the distribution of its uranium precursor in the Earth’s crust. The concentration of radon and its decay products depends on the geological situation. In certain areas, the radon exposition is naturally high, especially in mountainous regions with some granitic soils or shales. As a decay product of uranium, the gaseous radon then seeps out of the rocks into the environment....


Radon Concentration Lung Cancer Risk Excess Relative Risk Radon Level Radon Exposure 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Prevention and Occupational Medicine of the German Social Accident Insurance (IPA)Ruhr-University BochumBochumGermany